Bellevue Church Management System is a full-featured, web-based, open source, church management system capable of serving large or small churches.
TONY: How did Bellevue Church Management System get started?
BVCMS: Bellevue Baptist Church experienced a dilemma in 2007. Bellevue found that the commercial church management system they had been utilizing to manage the church was no longer meeting its needs. In November 2007, Bellevue initiated the Bellevue CMS (Bellevue Church Management System) project, an endeavor to write a new church management system from the ground up.
In May of 2008, Bellevue CMS was introduced to the Bellevue staff. The legacy system continued to be utilized for all data entry, but Bellevue CMS became the option of choice for searching and reporting. In August of the same year, Bellevue extended access to Bellevue CMS to Bible fellowship teachers and lay leaders so they could better manage and track their groups. Two months later the old system began to be phased out. By April 2009, five hundred active users were working with Bellevue CMS.
Bellevue CMS was such a success that it made sense to share this innovation with other churches. Instead of adding another commercial solution to the market place, Bellevue made the the source code available to the public under an open source, but commercially protected license. This guaranteed the source code for Bellevue CMS would forever be free and open to the world. On April 19, 2009, the first public release of the code was made available on CodePlex, an open source project repository. Today, Bellevue CMS is utilized by churches across the world.
David Carroll, the developer of Bellevue CMS, has started a company, completely separate from Bellevue Baptist Church, to host, support and continue to develop Bellevue CMS for other churches as a service-based commercial business. The church has graciously offered to allow the use of their Internet connection and server room to house Bellevue CMS servers.
TONY: Why is it open source?
BVCMS: Several reasons including:
- For the benefit of the kingdom of Christ at large.
- To make it affordable for small churches and start ups.
- It gave us an immediate story to enter an already crowded market of commercial products.
- The idea of open source is all about community. Doesn’t the church represent what community should be all about? Who better than the church to embrace open source?
TONY: Tell us about the 30 churches that have switched to Bellevue CMS.
1 Very Large > 170,000 records
6 Large > 3900
3 Medium > 1000
11 Small < 1000
9 Startups < 100
TONY: What systems have churches converted from?
2 Membership Plus
1 Church Community Builder
10 Excel spreadsheets
TONY: What’s in it for Bellevue Baptist Church? What’s in it for other churches?
BVCMS: There are several ways Bellevue Baptist Church benefits from making its software available under an open source license:
- They are able to cooperate with other churches to keep the project alive and continuously improving.
- They share future development costs with other contributing churches.
- They get the joy of giving to the Christian community at large.
- Other churches will contribute ideas that Bellevue Baptists Church has not considered but will no doubt benefit from in the future.
TONY: What’s in it for other churches?
- Churches receive the ability to control the future development of the church management system. No longer is a church dependent upon a proprietary vendor whose decisions are oftentimes motivated primarily by financial gain.
- The system is designed by users for users.
- The danger of being abandoned by a company due to any number of reasons is mitigated by having the source code to the system. Should the original developers discontinue the project anyone can continue to improve the project with the available source code.
If Bellevue CMS sounds like a potentially good solution for your church, here are some next steps:
Visit the Bellevue CMS website to:
- Read and listen to interviews from other churches
- Subscribe to the Bellevue CMS newsletter and stay up to date with new developments
- Learn more about hosting and support options
- Sign up for a free, self-driven test drive
This is a sponsored post from Bellevue Church Management System, one of my ministry partners on TonyMorganLive.com. I’m looking forward to sharing more of their story over the next few months.